A visit to Vietnam can not be complete without visiting the UNESCO world heritage site Hạ Long Bay. A collection over 1960 limestone islands and islets in the Gulf of Tonkin are divided into three sections, Hạ Long, Bái Tử Long and Lan Ha Bay. Ha Long Bay is the most popular section to visit for tourists, Bái Tử Long Bay is a protected national park and requires permission to take tourists to this part of Hạ Long Bay. Visiting these limestone formations is only possible via water, and there are now plenty of cruise companies that will sail around the islands varying in price. We booked a 3 day 2 night cruise on Dragons Pearl part of Indochina Junks fleet. Indochina Junks are a mid to high price company offering deluxe cruises around exclusive parts of Bái Tử Long Bay. Day 1 Collected from our hotel shortly after 8am via Luxury Private…Continue Reading
Our hotel Tu Linh Palace Hotel 2 recommended us a trip to Sa Pa, the northernmost town in Vietnam. Sa Pa and sounding villages sit 1300m above sea level. One of the hotel staff Lilli claimed she is from the area of Sa Pa and visits regularly, and the staff at the hotel are nice and trustworthy. They book many tours directly with locals and friends for the adventurous tourists. Friends Anna and Chris recently visited Sa Pa and highly recommended it as it allows the traveler to experience a real simple living culture, even helping the locals with their crops and chores. We could not miss such an opportunity, we booked 3 days trekking, 2 nights at a Home-stay, deluxe train and mini bus transfer from Lào Cai (where the rail station is) to Sa Pa. Lào Cai is the most northern point you can reach via rail, within…Continue Reading
While in Vietnam, we applied for our Thailand Tourist Visa so we can stay up-to 60 consecutive days in Thailand. The Thailand Embassy in Hanoi are very accommodating and friendly when it comes to applying for a Visa. They speak good english and did not make unexpected requests. We applied on a whim that we may need to give more information such as, (printed bank statements, hotel booking proof, transportation in and out) non of this information was demanded. We were asked our travel intentions – As we intend to travel overland from Cambodia and exit via Malaysia, the administrator staff pulled a face how I can describe of “Impressed”. Did not expect the punctuality of this embassy, it taken a little over 12 hours to process our Visa. I wish all embassy’s where like this. Extremely happy to have this bit of administration out-of-the-way. Please note, this is not…Continue Reading
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  While in the area near to the Embassy of Kingdom of Thailand, we went for an quick walk around the Temple of Literature. The architecture of this historical landmark is remarkable, if only I studies a little more into its meaning. A guide would have been a benefit, printed guide books are chargeable (we did not opt for). Still a nice place to visit. Entrance fee is ₫20,000
To get a crash course into Vietnamese food we could not turn down Hanoi Street Food Tour (ranked #2 out of 403 activities in Hanoi on TripAdvisor). Reservation was made via email and we attended the tour the next day, starting at Kim building we visited many delights around Hanoi all accessible by foot. We were in a group of 8, who have traveled from England, and Australia. We started at Phở Gà Thanh Hợp with a bowl of “Phở Gà” (Chicken Noodles), we ate here a few days earlier and enjoyed it.  The chilli sauce they have as an extra is powerful, just a few drops transformed this dish.  At 39,000₫ (£1.10) this simple dish is cheap and cheerful. We took a walk around the lake to Bánh Cuốn Nóng & Mỳ Vằn Thắn to try shrimp rolls, the preparation method is impressive – using the steam from a pan to lightly cook a thin rice…Continue Reading
We visited Tamarind Cafe (rated #145 out of 856 restaurants on TripAdvisor) which is next door to Tu Linh Palace Hotel 2.  Tamarind Cafe is a vegetarian restaurant with a relaxed couch atmosphere. We order spring rolls, both fresh and fried, the food tastes bland. I don’t think this place is good value. We stayed for a while as the place has many plug sockets, good WiFi and relaxed atmosphere.  
Simple, cheap, delicious. A pleasant walk around Hoan Kiem Lake you will find Pho 24 at the southern point with colourful green signage. Greeted with big smiles and welcomes, and a simple menu, ordering food is easy. A choice of beef or chicken Pho. Price is really reasonable at ₫49,000 (about £1.37) per person and you get a decent serving. I would recommend you try this place while in Vietnam.
We chose to stay for 7 nights at Hotel Staywell DX (ranked #84 of 813 on TripAdvisor) to for our last hotel in India while we get our Vietnam VISA sorted. The hotel is clean, comfortable, and in a great location. Staffs are friendly and speak enough English to get on by but advanced conversations or requests are could to be misunderstood. Our room was small but comfortable with large mirrors, fully tiled bathroom and pleasant bright lighting. However the window opened to a dark shaft space, the room received no daylight (was difficult to figure out what time of day it was). WiFi is fast, free and available in the rooms (note: password changes every day). Hot water is intermittent. Most days we had warm/cold showers. Television reception is great with plenty of news and movie channels (with many adverts) The hotel restaurant is fan cooled and can get hot during the…Continue Reading
Disclaimer: The following are my own opinions and are not intended to offend. We spent a little over 3 weeks in India during July 2014 mostly with a guided tour Ain’t no mountain high enough by Geckos Adventures. The India government air an advertisement campaign “Incredible India” “Incredible India” is one way to say it, India is both incredibly great and incredibly annoying at times too – I will explain in this post. I visited India with my partner, as her descendants are Indian I have been told stories prior my visit, however I remained naïve and have an open mind regardless of what other people have told me – I needed to see, smell, feel, and experience India myself. Overland crossing We entered India overland from Nepal and I initially was disgusted, flies immediately swarmed around us, the roads covered in sloppy mud (and god knows what else), women burning piles…Continue Reading
Before leaving India we wanted to ship the souvenirs we have purchased over the last month back to the United Kingdom. TL;DR Don’t think shipping your items from India will be easy, simple and cheap.  Most souvenirs you buy will likely be rejected from main stream carriers for some silly reason.  If you’re flying back home, take your souvenirs with you, don’t buy anything too big that you will have to ship (you might be disappointed). The morning before we fly out to Vietnam and checkout out of our hotel, we went on a mission to find DHL to ship our consignment. We failed to find DHL, our Tuk-Tuk driver drove us around all of Connaught Place in search of carriers. We found FedEx after an hour of searching and dived right in requesting to ship our items.  The itinerary scrutinised, and the attitude of the staff was really unpleasant, (like he did not want…Continue Reading
We booked a street food tour with Food Tour in Delhi (Ranked #7 out of 224 activities in New Delhi on TripAdvisor) I liked the foods we sampled but honestly noting really blew my taste buds away. Was expecting food being prepared by simple means, popular with the locals (like the street food Rick Stein’s sampled when he visited to India in search of the true India flavours). Most places we visited are established vendors, except a couple local ‘out there’ vendors. However my taste palate is not that of everybody’s. I would recommend this food tour because it is a great way to explore Old and New Delhi, and try things you otherwise would have not tried. The places we visited: Shyam Sweets, Chawri Bazar Chowk Barshahbulla,adjoining Shyam Sweets New Delhi, Delhi 110006, India Tel: +91 11 2327 0198 Jain Coffee House, Shop No-4013, Raghu Ganj, Chawri Bazar Rd, Dai Wara, Chandni Chowk,…Continue Reading
We went to Barbeque Nation Connaught Place (ranked #54 out of 3597 restaurants in New Delhi on TripAdvisor) for what we expected to be a simple meal.  We did not expect an all you can eat buffet with a real BBQ in the middle of the table. We got given a table and hot coals were placed in the centre, then skewers of cooked chicken, fish, and prawns to be additionally cooked to the our liking. The skewers kept on coming until we asked for no more (this was just the starter). After the BBQ starters we where able to enjoy the small but extremely tasty selection of main dishes. The dishes had a western meets indian fusion twist as there was a different menu promotion. We enjoyed the food and atmosphere for the evening, eating until we could not eat anymore. The total bill was ₹1988 (about £19) for the two of us. I…Continue Reading